Two years ago, the vast majority of apologists who believed the Sabres could do no wrong happily embraced losing as a strategy for winning. They bought into the asinine notion that a single player -- wait, a "generational" player – could turn around the fortunes of an entire hockey team.
It was ridiculous at the time, a product of desperate and delusional fans who allowed false hope to cloud their judgment. It looks worse now after the Sabres took a step backward from last season and finished in the basement. How many would now admit they supported the model?
You can’t blame Jack Eichel, who led the Sabres in scoring after missing the first 21 games. Injuries? Not when the Sabres had a losing record when Eichel and Evander Kane were in the lineup. Coaching? Please. Dan Byslma's acumen didn't somehow deteriorate after he arrived.
Problems start with owners who endorsed a flawed plan that was made worse by Tim Murray's poor assembly. Too many players lacked maturity, passion or both before folding in a culture that once accepted – no, encouraged – losing. The Sabres were flat this season, almost as if they were run over by a tank.